Book - Looseleaf

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) Handbook, Third Edition

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) Handbook, Third Edition

Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) Handbook, Third Edition

By Gary A. Shulman
Publish Date
Product Line
Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S.
Available formats


Widely recognized as the definitive work on the topic, Qualified Domestic Relations Order Handbook, written by Gary A. Shulman, turns the most confusing QDRO issues into clear answers and step-by-step guidelines.

Drawing on years of experience, Shulman steers you past the QDRO pitfalls, with expert tips, drafting checklists, and even a special chapter on 29 areas of high liability risk. In this volume you'll find:

  • Comprehensive model separation agreement language that you can incorporate directly into decrees to ensure that all of the QDRO issues are properly addressed
  • Guidance on how to "revoke" a QDRO that has already been approved by the plan administrator
  • Guidance on how to draft and administer child support QDROs
  • Dozens of tips on how to detect potentially hazardous deficiencies in the "company model" QDRO
  • Detailed instructions and models for dividing federal and state government plans

Why waste time and risk costly errors by working with scattered resources and partial information?

With the Handbook, you'll save time as well as trouble. It provides fast, definitive resolutions to all your QDRO questions. And because it's designed for both attorneys and plan administrators, it helps you anticipate questions throughout the entire drafting and approval process. That means less guesswork, fewer delays and most importantly, less liability exposure.

Qualified Domestic Relations Order Handbook provides everything you need to draft or administer QDROs promptly and accurately, with a superb toolkit of resources for attorneys and administrators, including:

  • 21 QDRO models for all types of plans and conditions
  • Step-by-step drafting guidelines
  • Model language for specific circumstances
  • Model discovery letters for requesting retirement plan information
  • Sample correspondence
  • Drafting and compliance checklists
  • Company policies and procedures manual
  • Appendices of related statutory provisions
  • And much more!
ISBN: 9780735559769
SKU: 10045118-7777
    • Employee Retirement Income Security Act
    • Survivor Annuity Requirements
    • Retirement Equity Act
    • Definition of QDRO
    • Basic Criteria Necessary for QDRO
    • Failure to Understand QDROs - Lessons Learned "The Hard Way"
    • The Impact of Same-Sex Marriage on QDROs
    • Exhibit 1 - IRS Revnue Ruling 2013-17
    • Exhibit 2 - DOL Techinical Relaease 2013-4
    • Exhibit 3 - Notice 2014-1- Notice 2014-19—Internal Revenue Service: Application of the Windsor Decision and Revenue Ruling 2013-17 to Qualified Retirement Plans
    • Names and Mailing Addresses
    • Amount or Percentage of Participant's Benefits
    • Number of Payments or Period to Which Order Applies
    • Each Plan to Which Order Applies
    • Provision of Child Support, Alimony Payments, or Marital Property Rights
    • Pursuant to State Domestic Relations Law
    • No Alteration of Benefits Provided Under Plan
    • No Benefits Required to Be Paid to Another Alternate Payee
    • The New Standard of Care for QDROs
    • The Seven Critical Areas to Address in Every QDRO
    • Growth Protection
    • Survivorship Protection
    • Early Retirement Subsidies, Supplements, and Post-Retirement Cost of Living Adjustments
    • Anti-Circumvention Language
    • Explaining the QDRO to Your Client
    • The Separation Agreement
    • Following Through with the Plan Administrator
    • Obtaining Company Pre-Approval
    • Judges' Views of QDROs
    • Do Not Shortchange Your Client's QDRO Rights
    • Incorporate the QDRO by Reference
    • Protecting the Alternate Payee's Benefits Against Actions by the Participant
    • Merger of Benefits with Other Retirement Systems
    • Reservation of Jurisdiction and the Recharacterization of Benefits
    • How to Interpret that "Old" Separation Agreement Language If You Represent the Alternate Payee
    • Exhibit 1 Model Separation Agreement Language for Defined Benefit Pension Plans
    • Exhibit 2 Model Separation Language for Dividing Defined Contribution Plans
    • The Mysterious Defined Benefit Pension Plan
    • Pension Plans Come in Many Varieties
    • Preparing QDROs for Money Purchase Pension Plans (When Coverture May Not Apply)
    • Preparing QDROs for Floor-Offset Arrangement Pension Plans
    • Remember the Coverture
    • Distinguish Between Separate Interest and Shared Payment Approach
    • The Critical Early Retirement Subsidy
    • Do Not Forget the Boilerplate
    • Dissecting a Pension Plan QDRO
    • How to Draft QDROs for Plans That Utilize the "Severed" Approach for Their Separate Interest QDROs
    • Impact on Alternate Payee's QDRO Payments If Employee Returns to Work After Retirement
    • Determining the "Marital Portion" of the Pensio


Gary A. Shulman, an ERISA attorney with more than 30 years of experience in the benefits and actuarial fields, is the country’s leading authority on Qualified Domestic Relations Orders. Mr. Shulman earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from The Ohio State University and his Juris Doctorate from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Mr. Shulman is a frequent lecturer on QDROs for family law bar associations, plan administrator groups, and judicial colleges across the United States. As owner of Shulman & Co., LLC, located in Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. Shulman has drafted and administered QDROs for thousands of attorneys and plan administrators, including many Fortune 500 companies. His consulting and legal background make him uniquely qualified to explain QDRO issues from the perspectives of both lawyers who draft QDROs and plan sponsors who are required to administer them. You can learn more about Gary Shulman and his company by visiting